UNESCO Artist for Peace to Visit Berklee's Valencia Campus and Perform in Casa Árabe Concert

By 
Agustina Covian
March 1, 2017
Iraqi composer and oud master Naseer Shamma was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace this year.
Image courtesy of the artist

The Mediterranean Music Institute (MMI) and Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain, will join Casa Árabe in celebrating its 10th anniversary at a concert featuring Iraqi composer and oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma on March 12 at Madrid's Teatros de Canal.

On February 21, Shamma was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace in "recognition of his commitment to support the musical education of young people in Iraq and beyond, his unfailing efforts to promote the message of peace through his performances, and his dedication to the universal ideals and aims of the Organization," according to UNESCO. Artists for Peace are internationally renowned personalities who use their influence, charisma, and prestige to help promote UNESCO’s message and programs. A performer and educator, Shamma founded the Arabic Oud House in Cairo, and his music, deeply rooted in the Arabic traditions, maintains a clear call for innovation and dialogue with other musical cultures. 

Shamma, sometimes called "the young Ziryab" in reference to the great musician of Al-Ándalus, has performed on five continents and is recognized worldwide. Modern and original, one of his contributions to the development of the oud is the manufacture of the eight-stringed oud (instead of the traditional six strings), constructed according to a manuscript by the great ninth-century scientist, musician, and philosopher Abu Nasr Al-Farabi.

He will be accompanied on stage in Madrid by Mahmoud Fares, Nabyla Maan, and Perico Sambeat. Fares comes from Aleppo, the birthplace of the Syrian musical tradition, and is one of the most important Sufi singers in the Middle East. Vocalist Maan takes a contemporary approach to traditional Moroccan music, fusing it with jazz and world music. Sambeat, a faculty member at the Valencia campus, is widely considered a living jazz legend in Spain. 

In addition to his appearance at the concert, Shamma will visit Berklee's Valencia campus on March 13 as part of the MMI's Circle of Peace initiative. His visit will be hosted by the contemporary performance program.